Sonic and Sega All-Stars was a real surprise when it first arrived on the App Store. A full on console kart racer with great graphics and decent controls. it easily took the crown for best mobile kart racer.
The sequel, Transformed, which added boats and planes to the mix, improved the console game in pretty much every way, so can it do the same on mobile?
The game is another spin on the classic kart racing genre that a certain Nintendo Mascot is famous for. In Sega’s case it’s a showcase of characters from their past and present including Wreck-it-Ralph, Ulala from Space Channel 5. Amigo from Samba De Amigo and many more. It’s not just flaunting their heritage for the sake of it, either, as each character has something different to add to the mix.
Initial signs were worrying when the game asked me for my iTunes password before even getting to the menu screen, but I relaxed when i realised that this was just to unlock some extra characters. From here, after the big huggable Sega logo that takes me back to the halycon days of gaming past, a set of three options appears; Single Player, Weekly Challenge and Multi-player.
Single Player is the meat of the game, offering up a series of unlockable tracks and characters and giving you plenty of currency for completing races (more on this later). It takes the form of either a World Tour mode, which is a standard race by race attempt to unlock everything and get to the end, or Grand Prix with a ‘best of three’ style system and standings.
Multi-player offers local play and, new to the series on iOS, online play. Online is a well-thought out service with a set of leagues of increasing difficulty, meaning that you can get a good game whatever your skill level. There weren’t that many takers on the online side of things for this review, but local play works perfectly without any lag or issues.
Weekly Challenges are an interesting addition and allow you to vastly increase your currency by taking on challenges set by Sega. Since currency is used to unlock new tracks, difficulties and characters it’s good to have a fair way to earn some fast bucks without having to resort to real world payments, though this is an option. In fact, the game as a whole is pretty fair about the currency system and never asks for the Earth when unlocking items.
It’s impossible to review a kart game without referring back to Mario Kart, of course, and the reason for this is that Nintendo’s game is just so tightly put together. Track design, character balancing, AI, they’re all exactly the way they should be. Well, relax Mr Sega, because Transformed has all these things in spades. The tracks not only look beautiful, but are designed with some fiendish curves, fantastic short-cuts and have the added bonus of doing spectacular and unusual things as you race, thanks to the destructable environments and items like giant cogs bouncing across the track or cars on a busy freeway.
Characters are well selected, though there are a few sad ommissions from the roster of the console version, and each have their own strengths as well as a special Star Power move. Animations and sound bytes bring them all to life wonderfully. Even the soundtrack for each course has been lovingly constructed with a nudge back to their origins.
So, is Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed now the best kart racer on iOS and Android? You bet your spiky blue hedgehog it is!